Are the White Sox on the playoff bubble?
SI's Matt Martell paints a somewhat dour picture for the Chicago White Sox when it comes to a 2020 playoff berth.
And Matt's not wrong. The proposed expansion of playoffs that was one of the many carrots dangled by ownership in order to get their players to accept, like, a 20-game season, or 33% of pay, or only middle seats on flights throughout the 2020s, would have benefited the up-and-coming White Sox, for sure. Busting open the back door to let a buncha not-ready-for-prime-time ballclubs, too old and too young alike, would certainly have made things easier for the South Siders.
But don't cancel your ... err ... November? December? ... playoff plans too quickly.
Think about it. The White Sox will have a big say (as will Cleveland) in whether or not the Minnesota Twins run away with the division again in 2020.
First off, it's a 60-game season, which is plum nuts. Nelson Cruz missing a series because he knocked knees with Eddie Rosario playing pregame touch football at Target Field means he's missing 5% of the season now, not 2%. Everything will be magnified, including those nagging ills. A 10-day stay on the IL? More than 15% of the season.
OK, so now that you're dazzled by my math, let's do some more. Because better play by Chicago and Cleveland, even just slightly better play (as would be expected, Cleveland is still strong despite making apparent negative effort to get better for 2020 and the Sox taking it to the rim!) is going to pull the Twinkies back to the pack. A 90-win pace in a 162-game season is just a 33-win pace in 2020; 100 wins is 37. It's not inconceivable that the last series of the 2020 "regular season" takes a team from last to first place in 2020.
Or hey, just watch the video above, because I apparently summarized this entire concept in like 15 seconds of prose poetry. Dig!